Contrastive explanation and the PSR

Perhaps, though, we can formulate the dissatisfaction with statistical quantum mechanical and libertarian explanations as follows. Suppose we are dealing with an electron in a mixed up> + down> state, which in an appropriate magnetic field will either go up or down, with equal probability. Suppose it goes up. Why did it go up Because of its state, the experimental setup, and the laws of nature. Maybe this is a fine explanation, but it does not seem to be a contrastive explanation. It does...

Overcoming the Regress and Taxicab Problems

I have defended three principles, each of which is sufficient to overcome the Glendower Problem a PSR for contingent propositions, a CP for wholly contingent positive states of affairs, and a CP not just for individual events substances but for chains of events substances. Now the question is whether they are sufficient to overcome the Regress and Taxicab problems and yield the existence of a First Cause. I shall argue in the positive, thereby giving versions of three cosmological arguments by...

Introduction

The cosmological argument is a family of arguments that seek to demonstrate the existence of a Sufficient Reason or First Cause of the existence of the cosmos. The roll of the defenders of this argument reads like a Who's Who of Western philosophy Plato, Aristotle, ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, Maimonides, Anselm, Aquinas, Scotus, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Locke, to name but some. Cosmological arguments can be conveniently grouped into three basic types the kalam cosmological argument for a...

By successive addition

We now turn to a second philosophical argument in support of the premise that the universe began to exist, the argument from the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition. The argument may be simply formulated as follows 2.21 A collection formed by successive addition cannot be an actual infinite. 2.22 The temporal series of events is a collection formed by successive addition. 2.23 Therefore, the temporal series of events cannot be an actual infinite. This...

An objection causing the causing

While the van Inwagen objection applies specifically to the PSR, there is a related objection to CPs. Suppose that our CP applies to all wholly contingent, concrete, contingent states of affairs. Suppose that state of affairs C causes state of affairs E. It may be that C is necessary (e.g. C might be God's existing and having such and such values), and thus one cannot get a regress by asking for C's cause, but there is a different move available. We can form a third state of affairs, the state...

Van Inwagens modal fatalism argument

Peter van Inwagen (1983, pp. 202-4) has formulated an influential and elegant reductio ad absurdum of the PSR. Let p be the conjunction of all contingent truths. If p has an explanation, say q, then q will itself be a contingent truth, and hence a conjunct of p. But then q will end up explaining itself, which is absurd. We can formulate this precisely as follows (11) No necessary proposition explains a contingent proposition. (Premise) (12) No contingent proposition explains itself. (Premise)...

Existence of an actual infinite

Premise (2.11) asserts that an actual infinite cannot exist in the real world. It is frequently alleged that this sort of claim has been falsified by Cantor's work on the actual infinite and by subsequent developments in set theory, which provide a convincing demonstration of the existence of actual infinites. But this allegation is far too hasty. It not only begs the question against denials of the mathematical legitimacy of the actual infinite on the part of certain mathematicians (such as...

Gellmans argument for oneness and omnipotence

Jerome Gellman (2000) has offered a clever argument from the claim that in every possible world there is a necessarily existing cause that explains all contingent truths (perhaps a different one in different worlds) to the claim that there is a necessarily existing cause that is omnipotent and that explains all contingent truths in every world. The argument is intricate, and here I shall give a variant that I think is in some ways superior. If N is a necessary being that explains all the...

Argument from the impossibility of an actual infinite

One of the traditional arguments for the finitude of the past is based upon the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite. It may be formulated as follows 2.11. An actual infinite cannot exist. 2.12. An infinite temporal regress of events is an actual infinite. 2.13. Therefore, an infinite temporal regress of events cannot exist. In order to assess this argument, we need to have a clear understanding of its key terms. First and foremost among these is actual infinite. Prior to the...

The CP for chains

We assume in this argument that we are dealing with a kind of causation such that the causes relation is transitive if x causes y and y causes z, then x causes z and irreflexive x does not cause x . A causal chain of items is a set S of items totally ordered under the causes relation. In other words, if x and y are members of S, then either x y, or x causes y, or y causes x. The relata of the causal relation can be concrete things or events or concrete states of affairs - I shall call these...

Argument II

Theism fails in terms of explanatory power. Some see theism as a quasi-scientific hypothesis. This is Richard Dawkins's position I pay religions the compliment of regarding them as scientific theories and . . . I see God as a competing explanation for facts about the universe and life. This is certainly how God has been seen by most theologians of past centuries and by most ordinary religious people today. . . . Either admit that God is a scientific hypothesis and let him submit to the same...

William Lane Craig And J P Moreland

The collapse of positivism and its attendant verification principle of meaning was undoubtedly the most important philosophical event of the twentieth century. Their demise heralded a resurgence of metaphysics, along with other traditional problems of philosophy that verificationism had suppressed. Accompanying this resurgence has come something new and altogether unanticipated a renaissance in Christian philosophy. The face of Anglo-American philosophy has been transformed as a result. Theism...

Does Theistic Natural Theology Rest upon a Mistake

According to classical theism, there is a creator and sustainer of the cosmos who is omniscient, omnipotent, necessarily existing, nonphysical, essentially good, omnipresent, without temporal beginning or end, and everlasting or eternal. How these attributes are understood with precision is a matter of controversy. For example, some theists understand God as not temporally extended but transcending temporal passage for God, there is no before, during, and after , while others see God as...